We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to stay hydrated for kids and adults. Severe cases of dehydration can cause problems such as disorientation, heat stroke, or seizures.

This time of year, the temperatures are hotter and we can easily lose water from being in the heat. Hanging out outdoors, exercising, and illness are all contributors to dehydration, which can have subtle effects on the body.

Outside of desert-like conditions, your environment may not feel like a biodome of set up to tap out your last reserves of fluid. You know what it’s like to feel parched, but you may not even notice you’re dehydrated!

We’re going to introduce you to a quick test you can use on yourself or your family to check for dehydration. Called the skin pinch test, there are several ways you can do it.

  1. Your Face

    Give a gentle pinch to your cheek (don’t hurt yourself!) and look for fine lines. If they appear on your skin and your skin lacks elasticity, you are probably dehydrated.

  2. Your Hand, Abdomen, or Arm

    When doctors perform the skin pinch test, they typically do it on the back of the hand, near the wrist. What they are looking for is to see if skin turgor has been reduced due to loss of fluids. This refers to your skin’s ability to bounce back after it’s been pinched.

    How do you check? Pinch the skin on the back of your hand upwards between two fingers. Hold it for a few seconds before releasing. If it bounces back into place, no worries. But if your skin takes its time going back to normal, you are most likely dehydrated. You can also do this on a section of your abdomen or an arm.

It should be noted that the turgor test is effective when someone is moderately to severely dehydrated, so it is possible that you may need medical intervention if you have additional symptoms.

Signs of moderate to severe dehydration include:

  • Dizziness
  • Dry skin, including on the lips
  • Lethargy
  • Sunken eyes or cheeks
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness

Besides drinking water, you can restore lost fluids by drinking coconut water or a drink with minerals and electrolytes. Foods that help to rehydrate are cucumbers, watermelon, apples and grapes. On the flip side, your intake of salty foods, alcohol, and caffeine can dry you out.

If your dehydration symptoms are severe, see a medical professional for proper care. Children and the elderly can be especially susceptible to dehydration when it’s hot outside, so watch out for these warning signs and get them hydrated as soon as possible. Small amounts throughout the day work better versus large amounts at once.

If you’ve been in the heat, working out a lot, or moving around enough to overheat, it’s important to replenish your fluids continually. And if you’re concerned, don’t forget to pinch yourself!

Did you know about the pinch test? Have you ever experienced a severe case of dehydration? How did you handle it?